British Steel has secured two contracts to supply 86,000t of rail to Italian railway infrastructure manager Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI).

The contracts include the delivery of 18,000t of its unique premium Stress-Free (SF) heat-treated rail and 68,000t of its standard-grade rail.

Both agreements involve the delivery of rail in lengths of 108m.

The premium SF heat-treated rail is designed for curved or heavy haul tracks where fatigue is a significant issue.

British Steel commercial director of Rail Richard Bell said: “We developed ‘stress-free’ heat-treated rail to address the industry needs for high resistance to wear, rolling contact fatigue and improved foot fatigue performance to extend the service life of rail and thereby reduce the whole life cost.

“Products like this reduce the need for costly and lengthy maintenance and replacement programmes.”

“Products like this reduce the need for costly and lengthy maintenance and replacement programmes, thereby maximising track availability and allowing trains to run for longer.”

The steel used for the SF heat treated rails is manufactured at British Steel’s Scunthorpe facility in England. It is transferred to its French plant at Hayange for rolling and strengthening procedures.

According to the company, test results have found that this SF rail can withstand 67% more fatigue stress than traditional heat-treated rails.

To date, the company has supplied more than one million tonnes of premium SF heat-treated rails across six continents.

The deals from RFI follow two major contract wins by British Rail in the last three months. In September, Network Rail extended supply contract for two years, while in October Belgian rail operator signed a four-year agreement with British Rail.